Since there is no known cure for Crohn’s disease, it’s vitally important to control the symptoms with diet and medication. Your Manhattan gastroenterologist can recommend the best course of medical treatment, but it’s up to you to avoid those food triggers that cause you pain and discomfort.
What Is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is an intestinal disorder characterized by chronic inflammation of your intestinal tract. It can strike anywhere from your mouth all the way to your rectum. Unlike similar conditions such as ulcerative colitis, this inflammatory bowel disease usually appears in patches along your intestines. It can develop deep pockets of inflammation surrounded by healthy tissue.
The symptoms of Crohn’s disease are varied and can resemble other gastrointestinal illnesses. It’s therefore sometimes difficult to diagnose. Taken together, its symptoms can include:
- Watery diarrhea
- Chronic bloody stools
- Abdominal pain
- Appetite and weight loss
- Vomiting and nausea
- Low iron levels
Diagnosing Crohn’s Disease in New York City
Your Crohn’s doctor relies on various tests to reach a diagnosis:
- Barium enema
- Capsule endoscopy
- CT scan
Once diagnosed, Crohn’s disease requires a regimen of medicine to control its symptoms, ranging from antibiotics to immune system suppressors. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, 75 percent of Crohn’s disease sufferers eventually have to undergo surgery, and 38 percent of those patients will experience a recurrence of symptoms.
Preventing Crohn’s Disease Symptoms
Reducing stress can significantly lower your risk of developing debilitating symptoms. Regular exercise helps with overall health and stress reduction. It’s important to remain hydrated during exercise when you have Crohn’s disease, however, and avoid drastic changes in body temperature.
If you smoke, quitting is the number one thing you can do to prevent symptoms. Dr. Khodadadian recommends that you stay away from offending foods that can trigger your symptoms, such as:
- Fried food of any kind
- Cured meat (like bacon)
- Fruits with seeds such as strawberries and raspberries
- Fruit skin, like the skin on apples and pears
- Dairy products
- Drinks, including alcohol, coffee and carbonated beverages
Getting Relief from Crohn’s Disease
The good news is that you can find healthy food to help ease your symptoms while having a flare-up. Talk to your gastroenterology doctor before trying one of these “power foods.” Keep in mind that both food triggers and food relievers are subjective and vary widely between individuals:
- Live-culture yogurt
- Oily fish such as salmon or tuna
- Reduced lactose cheese like Swiss or cheddar
- Cooked carrots
- Boiled or baked potatoes
- Whole grain cereal
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Non-dairy, high-calories liquid nutritional formulas
When in doubt, consult a Crohn’s doctor. If you feel acute symptoms, get help. If you aren’t sure if you have Crohn’s disease, call Dr. Khodadadian for an appointment. Only a trained gastroenterologist can make an accurate diagnosis.
For more information about Crohn’s Disease, contact NYC Gastroenterologist, Dr. Shawn Khodadadian.